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Baseball Notes: Doumit hits a big one

Pittsburgh Pirates' Ryan Doumit hits a three-run home run off Houston Astros pitcher Fernando Abad. (Associated Press)
Pittsburgh Pirates' Ryan Doumit hits a three-run home run off Houston Astros pitcher Fernando Abad. (Associated Press)

The Pittsburgh Pirates have steadfastly insisted that merely reaching .500 wouldn’t be cause for celebration.

Moses Lake native Ryan Doumit gave them a chance to find out what it feels like this late in the season for the first time in a while.

Doumit hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning and Pittsburgh evened its record later than at any point since 2005, beating the Houston Astros 5-4 Sunday.

Doumit’s drive to left off Fernando Abad (1-3) was his third homer of the season. The Pirates have won five of seven and are 17-17.

“We know that this is a great thing for the city and we know that we are moving in the right direction,” said Pirates third baseman Neil Walker, who grew up in suburban Pittsburgh. “I guess I understand it a little more than everybody else, because I was six years old in ’92.”

That was the last season in which the Pirates finished with a winning record.

“Man, did he whack that thing,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Doumit’s home run. “He caught that thing right on the barrel. What a big swing for us, especially the way things were kind of spinning the wrong way. He put a foot down and kind of changed the direction of the game.”

And maybe – maybe – even the direction of the season – and of a franchise that is so desperate to return to winning baseball.

“We know what we are capable of, and as far as we are all concerned, we haven’t been hitting on all cylinders quite yet,” Doumit said. “There’s plenty more left in the tank.”

Liriano’s next start pushed back a day

Minnesota left-hander Francisco Liriano will wait another day to follow up his no-hitter, having his next start pushed back because of flu symptoms and a sore throat.

Liriano threw a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night for the first this season in the majors.

The 27-year old had Tommy John surgery more than four years ago.

Around the bases

The Mets placed right-hander Chris Young on the disabled list with shoulder tightness that prevented him from making his last scheduled start. The team also transferred Johan Santana to the 60-day DL to free up space on the 40-man roster. … Rays outfielder Brandon Guyer, who homered in his first major league at-bat Friday night, headed back to the minor leagues. The Rays recalled right-hander Rob Delaney from Triple-A Durham and optioned Guyer to the same minor league club.